EXPERIENTIAL TOURISM IN QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK
For tourists who desire to get up-close with the wildlife species, a research trip to the Queen Elizabeth National Park is the most rewarding adventure activity. This new and exceptional experience allows tourists to participate in monitoring some of the mammal species and the exotic birds that occupy the National Park, by use of locator devices and learn their habituation calls as well as monitoring the weather, group dynamics, their surrounding and behavior of the animals.
Once the findings have been got, the results are added to the Researchers’ databases hence contributing to the valuable information and the overall understanding of the ecology of wildlife and help in the conservation of the wonderful ecosystem of Queen Elizabeth National Park.
There are currently five experiential tourism activities that you can enjoy during your Uganda safari through Queen Elizabeth National Parkark and they include Bird counts, Mongoose tracking, Hippos census and Lion tracking. In order to reduce on the stress on the wild animals and increase of the ultimate quality of experience for the tourists, the number of tourists per group is always limited and the Experiential trips within Queen Elizabeth national Park take between one and three hours. This adventure is always conducted early morning and in the evening or sometimes at night, and have to be booked in advance through the Mweya Information Center.
Why Go For Experiential Tourism?
The Adventure that Gives Back to the Environment
For visitors who yearn to leave their safari vehicle behind and get up close to African fauna, a wildlife research trip is a rewarding adventure.
This is no ordinary safari; visitors actively participate in monitoring species such as lions and mongooses, or counting the thousands of huge hippos and exotic birds that fill the park.
Participants use locator devices and learn habituation calls, as well as monitoring weather, surroundings and the creatures’ behavior, with the valuable results being used in researchers’ databases. Most experiential tourism activities are not complicated, yet contribute important research to the overall understanding of wildlife ecology. The experiential tourism activities currently available are Mongoose Tracking, Lion Tracking, Hippo Census, and Bird Counts.
Banded Mongoose project is based around the Mweya Peninsula of Queen Elizabeth National Park, second largest National Park found in Western Uganda. This project supports over 400 banded Mongooses inhabiting 12 social groups. This Mongoose appeared in the “Banded brothers” documentary by the BBC. The Banded Mongoose research project is under the Universities of Cambridge, Exeter and Zurich that runs the project. Mongooses are small creatures with huge appetites and composite social and communication systems that captivate Wildlife Researchers. This activity is limited to a group of four people and tourists accompany Rearchers to the Mweya peninsula and other places that are considered off-limit to other tourists to record the behavior of these highly social mammals, besides that, tourists get to learn how to identify the animals, record their weight, weather their environment and location, and also get to understand their behavior. Much as tourists participate because of the exhilarating experience achieved, they also get to contribute in this long standing research project, because the collected data is added on the databases.
This adventure costs $30 for both foreign non-residents and foreign residents and Shs 30,000 for East African Community residents.
Lion (Predator) Tracking
This is one of the most fascinating experiences within Queen Elizabeth National Park, the activity is carried out in the Morning and late afternoon and tracking time lasts between one to three hours. The pride of Lions is always tracked with a radio collar receiving equipments with designed radio antennae offering a 100% chance of sighting the lions. This activity is more interesting because tourists get the chance to get closer with the lions than it is with game drives. Tourists and researchers get the chance to learn the behavior of the Lions within Queen Elizabeth National Park. Lions are also social animals that move in groups of 3-25 members in a pride. With this adventure, you will be able to learn about the nocturnal roars of the lions, their intensity and also distress calls from the prey. You will also be told about the tactics used in tracking the lions, for example how to know when the lions are moving in the tall grasses and how they create a slight path of bent grass, how these predators mark their territories through scrapping the ground with their feet which creates parallel scrapes of soil of 12 centimeters wide and 20 centimeters long. Other tactics used by the lions include rubbing their heads in the grasses that leaves unnoticeable blonde hairs behind, spraying dry sticky urine on well known bushes. Tracking within Queen Elizabeth National park costs $150 for foreign non-residents, $150 per person for foreign residents and Shs 150,000 for East African residents.
Other interesting experiential tourism activities within Queen Elizabeth National Park include
- Hippo Census that costs $100 for foreign non residents and foreign residents and Shs 100,000 for East African residents
- Bird Counts
Experiential tourism activities usually take place in the early morning or evening and last between 1-3 hours. Occasionally the activities take place at night.
All activities must be booked through the Visitor Information Centre in Mweya at least 24 hours in advance. The number of people on each outing is limited in order to reduce stress on animals and increase unique, quality experiences for visitors.